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10 Tips for Living in Panama

By Betsy Burlingame

William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

Summary: Did you know it's hot in Panama City all year round? Did you know that it's hard to get a work visa in Panama? Did you know that Panama has great incentives for foreign retirees?

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About the Author

Betsy Burlingame Betsy Burlingame is the Founder and President of Expat Exchange and is one of the Founders of Digital Nomad Exchange. She launched Expat Exchange in 1997 as her Master's thesis project at NYU. Prior to Expat Exchange, Betsy worked at AT&T in International and Mass Market Marketing. She graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University with a BA in International Business and German.

Some of Betsy's articles include 12 Best Places to Live in Portugal, 7 Best Places to Live in Panama and 12 Things to Know Before Moving to the Dominican Republic. Betsy loves to travel and spend time with her family. Connect with Betsy on LinkedIn.


Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
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Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Panama GuidePanama Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Panama.

Panama Forum Panama Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Panama on our Panama forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Panama Index Panama Index
An index of all of our site's Panama information.

Contribute to Panama Network Contribute
Help others in Panama by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Panama.

Expat Healthcare Advice in PanamaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Panama

Expats in Panama offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Panama.

Expat Talk about Healthcare Advice in PanamaMembers Talk about Healthcare & Health Insurance in Panama

Expats in Panama offer advice about healthcare in Panama.

Best Places to Live in Panama Best Places to Live in Panama

Panama is a great place to live or retire with easy residency laws, warm people and lots of expats. Whether you want to live by the beach in Bocas del Toro or need to live in Panama City for work and schools, there are many places to explore.

Real Estate in PanamaReal Estate in Panama

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Panama.

Guide to Real Estate in PanamaGuide to Real Estate in Panama

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Panama.

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Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Panama.

Cost of Living in PanamaCost of Living in Panama

Expats in Panama enjoy a relatively low cost of living. However, it's important to do your research to make sure you'll actually enjoy those saving while creating a high quality of life as an expat in Panama.

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Do you have to buy a round trip ticket when moving to Panama? How difficult is it to bring my dog? Should I buy a home in Panama? Can I find health insurance that covers me in Panama and my home country when I travel back to visit relatives?

Thanksgiving-in-PanamaThanksgiving in Panama

American expats.in Panama can enjoy a traditional Thanksgiving meal at these restaurants.

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Panama is a great place to live or retire with easy residency laws, warm people and lots of expats. Whether you want to live by the beach in Bocas del Toro or need to live in Panama City for work and schools, there are many places to explore. We highlight 7 great places to live in Panama.

5-Great-Places-to-Retire-in-Central-America5 Great Places to Retire in Central America

Central America is an increasingly popular retirement destination. Retirees love it's proximity to the United States, lower cost of living, beautiful cities, amazing beaches, healthy lifestyle and friendly people.

William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

William Russell Health Insurance
William Russell Health Insurance

Comments

guest
Oct 1, 2012 19:17

I've lived in 2 cities in Panama for a total of 7 months. I've lived in 7 countries and traveled to many more, so I compare. Promoters (realtors, etc.) want you to believe this is paradise. Paradise it is not. But, then again, it may be, if your criteria isn't too high, or if you live in a gated community and drive a car. I ride a bus and see glaring examples of inconsideration when they won't give up their seat for a pregnant woman, a mother carrying a child or an elder who can hardly walk. I see they use their country as a garbage bin - and I've never seen a street cleaner. Customer service is an unknown quantity here. I have one more city to try out. People do seem nicer there. If it's not an improvement, I'm outta here.

guest
Jan 17, 2013 13:39

We have lived in Panama for going on 4 years and find it great. As some people say Panama is not paradise. Paradise is not a location but what you make of that location. Only you can make it paradise or hell on earth. We have found it very easy living here and have made many good friends both gringoes and Panamenians .We live in the highlands and the weather is great, warm in the daytime and cool at night. If it's your dream to live in a different country, follow your dream or it just becomes a fantasy. Slider, Volcan, Panama.

guest
Aug 25, 2013 04:09

Regarding your statement about Benefits for Retirement in Panama: 25% off both international and domestic airline tickets, this CAN'T BE TRUE! The % just isn't possible. I've travelled on and off for 40 years and ran a travel agency for 6 years. If a 25% discount were possible, there would be hundreds of thousands of foreigners from all over the world registering as retirees in Panama just for that HUGE travel discount.

guest
Dec 8, 2014 01:00

In reference to the discount on airfares---allegedly 25%---it is true with COPA air and Air Panama, both Panamanian airline company. The discount takes place when the trip originates from Panama and you purchase your airfare in Panama and not via internet or abroad. If your trip originates elsewhere to fly to Panama on an international journey there is not discount.

WalterB
May 17, 2017 15:06

Be aware of the, "quick fix" solutions, they have the habit of unraveling when you least expect it or when you don't need it. Also don't try to bribe feamale cops! And don't talk back or try to talk your way out of a ticket, you most likely deserved it if given by a feamale. ,

mghinton
Dec 24, 2017 06:31

number 1 ... don't live in the city 2 ... don't use air conditioning , it takes getting used to but but in the long run is better for you 3... buy your meats , veggies , and fruits at local vendors 4... if you eat out find local restaurants with a noon or dinner buffet , try their specialties 5... if you own a car get your insurance from kevin bradley and get a good local mechanic , do not trust the shops 6... learn basic spanish but make friends with locals that speak some english , you will find a good one lovers to learn more and teach you more 7.... look me up always need new friends " make new friends but keep the old , one is silver the other gold .. "

guest
Feb 6, 2018 21:38

I have lived for 18 years in Panama and forget exactly what is was like to live in the USA. I have become very fluent in the language thanks to a marriage to someone who couldn't speak English. Five years ago I became a citizen so I don't need a work permit. I could just as easily live in Colombia or the Dominican Republic or Nicaragua. The main thing is to become fluent in the language. Once you do that you can live almost anywhere in Latin America and feel comfortable.

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Allianz Care International Health InsuranceInternational Health Insurance

Get a quote for health insurance from our partner, Allianz Care.
Get a Quote

Panama GuidePanama Guide
Learn what members have to say about living in Panama.

Panama Forum Panama Forum
Talk with other digital nomads and expats in Panama on our Panama forum - meet people, get advice and help others.

Panama Index Panama Index
An index of all of our site's Panama information.

Contribute to Panama Network Contribute
Help others in Panama by answering questions about the challenges and adventures of living in Panama.

Expat Healthcare Advice in PanamaHealthcare & Health Insurance in Panama

Expats in Panama offer advice about healthcare, hospital visits, emergency rooms visits, finding a doctor and buying health insurance in Panama.

Expat Talk about Healthcare Advice in PanamaMembers Talk about Healthcare & Health Insurance in Panama

Expats in Panama offer advice about healthcare in Panama.

Best Places to Live in Panama Best Places to Live in Panama

Panama is a great place to live or retire with easy residency laws, warm people and lots of expats. Whether you want to live by the beach in Bocas del Toro or need to live in Panama City for work and schools, there are many places to explore.

Real Estate in PanamaReal Estate in Panama

Real estate listings in popular cities and towns in Panama.

Guide to Real Estate in PanamaGuide to Real Estate in Panama

Advice for people renting and buying real estate in Panama.

Pros Cons of Living in PanamaPros & Cons of Living in Panama

Take off your rose-colored glasses and learn what digital nomads & expats have to say about the biggest challenges and the greatest rewards of living in Panama.

Cost of Living in PanamaCost of Living in Panama

Expats in Panama enjoy a relatively low cost of living. However, it's important to do your research to make sure you'll actually enjoy those saving while creating a high quality of life as an expat in Panama.

Panamas-Friendly-Nations-VisaPanama's Friendly Nations Visa

Panama's Friendly Nations Visa was introduced in 2012 and enables immigrants from 50 nationalities to easily obtain residency and a work permit.

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How to open a bank account in Panama from the expat perspective: covers what documents you'll need to open a bank account, key criteria when choosing a bank, opening a bank account before you obtain residency and more.

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Expats share their recommendations for the best banks in Panama for expats.and global nomads.

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Expats have differing opinions about healthcare in Panama. Many advice against public hospitals and healthcare, but some recount good experiences. This article covers public vs private healthcare, cost of healthcare, obtaining prescription medications and much more.

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